x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Walters urges Catalans Dragons to find their fire

He urges his players to put their miserable campaign behind them and finish the season on a high as they face Harlequins in the Super League basement battle tonight.

Kevin Walters, the Catalans coach, wants his team to finish their disappointing season on a high starting with today's game against basement club Harlequins.
Kevin Walters, the Catalans coach, wants his team to finish their disappointing season on a high starting with today's game against basement club Harlequins.

Face fellow strugglers Harlequins tonight In the NRL, Parramatta keep play-off hopes alive while Sharks take a bite out of Roosters Kevin Walters, the Catalan Dragons coach, has urged his players to put their miserable campaign behind them and finish the season on a high as they face Harlequins in the Super League basement battle tonight. The two sides are fighting between themselves to avoid this year's wooden spoon, with the Dragons in 13th and the Quins 14th with three rounds of fixtures left.

Walters, who is leaving the club at the end of this injury-ravaged season, has endured another tough week following last weekend's Challenge Cup semi-final mauling at the hands of the Warrington Wolves. In keeping with the injury problems the club have had, he has lost Jamal Fakir, Jerome Guisset, Casey McGuire and Brent Sherwin to various knocks. But, rather than wish away the time between now and when he boards the plane back to Australia, Walters has called on his players to finish on a high to give Trent Robinson, the incoming coach, something to start from when he takes over at the end of the season.

"Unfortunately we've had a bad week in terms of the players we've lost to injury," he said. "We thought we'd had our bad spell earlier in the year, but it looks like it's come back. "It's tough, but it's not difficult for us to keep going. Of course we'd like to be vying for the play-offs, but we're not and we're not the only team like that. We still have a lot to play for. We're trying to avoid finishing bottom of the ladder and we have a new coach coming in next season so we owe it to him and to ourselves to have a good go in our last three games."

The Dragons' form has been promising over the past month with three wins from their last four outings, but the same cannot be said for the Quins, who have lost their last four. Like the Dragons, the London club are desperate to avoid finishing bottom, but Luke Dorn, their playmaker, admits a long trip to France is the last thing he and his teammates need. "It's not glamorous," he said. "We're out there to do a job. We fly out the day before the game, train in the evening, play the match and fly back the day after.

"We don't want to come last. If we get a victory then we have every chance of lifting ourselves off the bottom of the table." Meanwhile, the Parramatta Eels kept their NRL top-eight hopes alive with a 30-14 upset victory over the Brisbane Broncos yesterday. A spectacular individual try by Luke Burt in the 72nd minute after he chipped over the head of Josh Hoffman, the Brisbane full-back, stretched the Eels' lead to 24-14 before Anthony Mitchell finished the job with a try on his debut in the final minute.

"We really dug deep," said Nathan Cayless, whose 217th game as the Parramatta captain eclipsed the NRL's previous best by Brad Fittler, the former Penrith Panthers and Sydney City Roosters great. "We played to our potential tonight, we've kept our season alive.We played some footy tonight." Lowly Cronulla Sharks inflicted a Friday the 13th nightmare on the high-flying Roosters with a shock 18-12 win.

Second-half tries from Nathan Gardner and Dean Collis secured a second win over the Roosters for the Sharks this season and put a major dent in Brian Smith's side's top-four aspirations. It also handed Shane Flanagan his first win as coach since replacing Ricky Stuart last month in what is only the Sharks' third victory in their last 15 games. Gardner, who scored one of the tries of the season in Cronulla's 42-18 win over the Roosters in round 13, was the difference as he danced past two tackles to score 12 minutes from time after Collis had touched down after the interval.

In today's games the Gold Coast Titans entertain the North Queensland Cowboys, (KO 11.30am) while Canterbury Bulldogs play Canberra Raiders (KO 12.30pm). * Agencies